Additional Assistant Referees are to be used for the first time in football here as the NI Football League today announced plans to introduce them for the 3rd Round of the Wasp Solutions League Cup.

In partnership with the Irish FA, this pilot initiative will see additional Assistant Referees deployed for the remainder of this seasons Wasp Solutions League Cup alongside the Irish Cup from Round 5 onwards. As this is a pilot initiative between the NI Football League and the Irish FA, the additional costs will be centrally funded, which means no extra cost to clubs here.

Following several seasons of use in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, additional Assistant Referees can now be seen in over 30 countries across Europe. They provide additional support to the Referee for what are often key match incidents in and around the penalty area as well of course as being able to more definitively assess when the ball crosses the line for a goal, ending debates that go back as far as the World Cup Final in 1966.

Vice-Chairman of the Premiership Management Committee, Stephen Bell, welcomed the new initiative and is looking forward to seeing it in action.  

“The use of additional Assistant Referees is now commonplace in many of the top competitions across Europe and I am pleased the NI Football League is now part of that elite group.  If they are good enough for the Champions League,, we should at least be prepared to see what benefit these Additional Assistants can bring to our game.  We all know refereeing is a very tough job. The pressure is constant for Referees to make the right decision first time every time and if these extra officials can help deliver that, then the game as a whole can only benefit” said Bell.

3rd Round of the Wasp Solutions League Cup, Tuesday 7 October:

  • Ards v. Dungannon Swifts
  • HW Welders v. Bangor
  • Knockbreda v. Portadown
  • Crusaders v. Coleraine
  • Institute v. Ballinamallard United
  • Carrick Rangers v. Cliftonville
  • Glenavon v. Glentoran
  • Ballymena United v. Ballyclare Comrades